Canadian drillers advertising for 3,000 workers

The Canadian drilling industry has launched a national campaign to attract a minimum of 3,000 new workers in the face of serious labor shortages and escalating demand for rigs this winter. The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says there is an unprecedented and severe shortage of people available to work rigs.


CALGARY�The Canadian drilling industry has launched a national campaign to attract a minimum of 3,000 workers because of labor shortages and escalating demand for rigs this winter.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) says there is an unprecedented and severe shortage of people available to work rigs.

CAODC President Don Herring said newspaper and radio advertising will be aimed at rural areas in Atlantic Canada and western Canada as exploration and production companies seek to capitalize on high oil and gas prices.

Herring said the drilling industry is competing for workers in a generally tight labor market with the construction, pipelining, logging, and mining industries. The unemployment rate in Alberta, which accounts for most of Canada�s drilling activity, is at 4.7% compared to a national average of 6.9%.

The drilling association predicts an average 560 rigs will be operating in Canada in the first quarter of next year. It said there are about 11,000 drilling workers in Canada and the industry will need at least 14,000 to meet projected demand.

Individual companies are increasing wages and offering retention bonuses to keep experienced staff.

The CAODC said workers can expect to earn a minimum of $16/hr (Can.), plus overtime, and accommodation allowances of up to $95/day.

The campaign was launched as concerns over short gas supply and impending cold weather in US markets such as Chicago boosted spot prices for gas by 51� to $7.70 per gigajoule. December prices for crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to $35.58/bbl (US)

Gas storage in the US is low. Western Canada storage is at a 5-year low of 221 bcf , 34 bcf below levels at the same time a year ago.

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